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Superhuman Stories Comic Club Aims to Immortalize Student Work

Artwork by Nemo Moreland
Artwork by Nemo Moreland

Some heroes are born. Most are made. After all, even Batman needed training before he could become Gotham’s Dark Knight.

Every Wednesday, students with a passion for comic books meet at the Frost Arts Center to learn the details and techniques that go into creating comic books.  

Much like Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, the comics club affords students the opportunity to strengthen their skills and hone their gifts.  

Bryce Van Patten, Comics Club president and English professor Tobias Peterson are working to create an exciting opportunity for club members, to feature their artwork in a graphic novel student anthology called, “The Iceberg.” In Fall 2018, former club vice president Perth Alacar suggested the idea of creating a student anthology, which would become “The Iceberg.” 

The anthology will be the first of its kind in Clark College history.

Aspiring artists and writers will be able to submit one of their own comic book creations and have it published. The first volume of “The Iceberg” will be released May 20, at the Comics Club’s release party.

Since creating the Comics Club in 2017 Van Patten hopes to turn what he has created into a continuing program at Clark.

Bryce Van Patten
Bryce Van Patten

“I want to give students, who love creating comics, a place where they could talk to others who have the same interests,” Van Patten said.

Now that the club has taken off, Van Patten plans to retire from the club after Summer quarter. He hopes to pass the torch as president of the club to a worthy successor who will continue the club and turn “The Iceberg” into an annual publication.

Student Jyles Wirta, who plans to finish his schooling at Clark in the near future, has the same hope for the club.

“I believe the student anthology to be a great opportunity,” Wirta said. “I really hope that whoever takes over will be just as great as Bryce has been,”

Both the comic club and “The Iceberg” were the creations of Van Patten, who got the inspiration while taking the Craft of Comics Art 105 class two years ago.

The class was taught by English professor Tobias Peterson and art professor Grant Hottle. The class began in Spring 2015.

“The class began as a mixed, integrated and team-taught learning community,” Peterson said. “Then it ran like that for two years until we had to start running it separately starting Spring 2018.”

Peterson taught students the skills they needed for writing scripts and drawing comics.

With Peterson as faculty advisor and Van Patten as president, they help students find their artistic voices through comic book creation.

The benefits and opportunities offered to the students are endless.

“This is a place where we can invite local comic book artists, editors and writers to come visit and give advice to the students,” Van Patten said.

The hard work Van Patten and Peterson have put into this club shows through how happy and at home the students appear when at the meetings.

The Indy had the opportunity to interview some of the students attending the meeting on Jan. 16. They shared their views on the club and their overall love for the world of comics. With the prompting of a few questions, their responses and opinions were endless.  

  • Why did you join the Clark College Comics Club?

Seth Jordan:

Even though he likes all sorts of media platforms, club member Seth Jordan, said that comics are one of his favorites, along with comic book movies.

“I have always loved superhero movies,” Jordan said.

Nemo Moreland:   

Nemo Moreland, a new addition to the club, looks forward to drawing and working with everyone else.

“I just love to draw and being able to work alongside others who have the same interest as I do,” Moreland said.

Eli Kranz

Kranz has been a club member since Spring of 2018.

“I found out about the club through the Craft of Comics class I was attending,” Kranz said.

Jyles Wirta

Jyles Wirta joined the comics club halfway through Fall of 2018, but he already knew that creating comics was his future.

“I had decided long before the Craft of Comics class I wanted to make a career in the comics business,” Wirta said.

  • How did you come into loving comics?

Jordan:

“My brother… a tattoo artist, would practice the comic book style designs and together we would study the color technique artists use in their own drawings.”

Moreland:

“Growing up I liked reading the Sunday newspaper comics and my favorites were the ones about people interacting with one another.” Moreland favors the more comedic cartoons. “I’m a hard-core comedy fan!”

Kranz:

“There is a lot about a comic book that fascinates me. I like to think about the panel structures, the designs chosen by the artist and looking through all the technical qualities a comic book can have.”

Wirta:

“I grew up reading comics like X-Men, Batman and Wolverine. When I was younger, I would watch the old comic book cartoons and as I got older, I grew to like the Spawn series the most.” Wirta also had his older brother. “Me and my older brother would draw and create our own comic books with original characters we created.”

  • How has this club been beneficial to you?

Jordan:

“I have enjoyed learning new drawing style techniques and skills which has helped me find new ways of creating things and has helped my art grow.”

Kranz:

“After taking the comics class, I knew I wanted to make a career creating comic books. I just find it to be so much fun because you discover a raw and creative power deep inside of you.”

Wirta:

“Before the class, I never knew how to write comics. Growing up, I only had a how-to book on comics to use as a reference. I’m happy to work with like-minded people in a collaborative setting.”

  • Is creating comic books something that you see yourself making a career out of?

Jordan:

“I’m more into the film spectrum of the media industry, but I do plan on using the art in comics design to help me study further.”

Moreland:

“Definitely! I would both create and write the comics — I’m the full package! I’ve been creating comic book strips since middle school and as I have grown so has the drawings and characters I’ve created.”

Kranz:

“Yes, definitely! I would go for being the artist behind a comic book and I would enjoy working and collaborating with other comic writers.”

Wirta:

“Oh yes! I would definitely both draw and write my own comics and I would love to be able to work on the characters I created back in middle school, which have evolved and matured as I have through the years.”

Editor’s Note: A previous version of this story failed to include the integral contributions of Perth Alacar, the former vice president of the Clark College Comics Club, to the creation and execution of “The Iceberg.” In a statement to the Indy, former club president Bryce Van Patten spoke of Alacar’s involvement with “The Iceberg,” from inception to completion:

“Last summer, our soon to be Vice President Perth Alacar came to me with the idea of the comics club possibly creating a comic book. I said ‘that’s a fantastic idea,'” Van Patten wrote.” The rest of the club loved the idea, so we held a session to come up with the name and voted on several, with Perth’s suggestion of ‘The Iceberg’ winning out.”

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